I have a stand-alone ESX server and recently expanded disk space by adding some disks to our RAID group. Now, I need to find a way to expand the VMFS parition. I know about adding extents, but that option doesn't seem to be available in the GUI. I looked at the CLI and wasn't able to create a new parition. Here is the fdisk output:
Disk /dev/sda: 898.3 GB, 898319253504 bytes
255 heads, 63 sectors/track, 109214 cylinders
Units = cylinders of 16065 * 512 = 8225280 bytes
Device Boot Start End Blocks Id System
/dev/sda1 * 1 13 104391 83 Linux
/dev/sda2 14 650 5116702+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda3 651 72473 576918247+ fb Unknown
/dev/sda4 72474 72809 2698920 f Win95 Ext'd (LBA)
/dev/sda5 72474 72542 554211 82 Linux swap
/dev/sda6 72543 72796 2040223+ 83 Linux
/dev/sda7 72797 72809 104391 fc Unknown
I'm looking for a non-destructive way to add the new space. Can I extend the extended partition with a LiveCD like GParted and then create a new partition for VMFS?
I believe the only way to extend a VMFS partition is to create another partition in the free space you have now in the VIC and then add it to your existing VMFS as an extent. You can't "grow" a VMFS partition that I know of. Alternatively, if you have some NFS or iSCSI storage out on the network and you're running 3.5, you could SMOTION the machines to new storage, reformat the VMFS partition to fill the space and then SMOTION them back.
As you didn't wrote which ESX 3 and VIC client you're using I assume it's ESX 3.5 and VIC 2.5.
You only can add a VMFS formatted partition to an existing VMFS datastore. So after you added the disks and configured it as a VMFS volume (by using the "Add Storage ..." dialog in VIC) you can add it as an Extend to an existing VMFS datastore.
From the handbook:
Adding Extents to Datastores
You can expand a datastore that uses the VMFS format by attaching a hard-disk partition as an extent. The datastore can span 32 physical storage extents.
You can dynamically add the new extents to the datastore when you need to create new virtual machines on this datastore, or when the virtual machines running on this datastore require more space.
To add one or more extents to the datastore
1 Log in to the VI Client and select a server from the inventory panel.
2 Click the Configuration tab and click Storage.
3 Select the datastore to expand and click Properties.
4 In the Extents panel, click Add Extent.
5 Select the disk to add as the new extent and click Next.
6 Review the current layout of the disk you are using for the extent to make sure the disk doesn’t contain any important information.
Caution If a disk or partition you add was formatted previously, it will be reformatted and lose the file systems and any data it contains.
7 Set the capacity for the extent.
By default, the entire free space available on the storage device is offered to you.
8 Click Next.
9 Review the proposed extent layout and the new configuration of your datastore, and click Finish.
10 Perform a rescan on all servers that see the datastore.
Ok, I figured out the problem. I have a direct attached storage for my ESX server. I added disks and added them to the RAID group. I found out that in order to add extents, the additional disks need to be separate virtual disks from the main virtual disk ESX resides on. This poses a problem since the different group of disks will be RAIDed separately. If one disk fails, then the entire VMFS will be lost.
The only option is to rebuild the entire ESX server. Since I have no SAN or vmotion to move things around, I will have to find a way to export all the VMs and reimport them.
Thanks everyone of their help.